In case you haven’t heard, Gov. Abbott has proclaimed this month “School Board Recognition Month,” but please hold your applause. The proclamation is a political offering worth more to the governor than to any school board member or anyone else associated with public education in Texas, including about 5.4 million school kids.
Sure, the document, embossed with the state seal and suitable for framing, says a lot of nice things about school board members and the “vital role” they play in helping to “secure our young people’s bright and precious futures.”
The resolution is fine if you appreciate that kind of thing, and most school board members certainly deserve the kind words and attention. But the words, by themselves, are hollow, coming from a governor who has persistently refused to advocate for the one thing that school boards need more than anything else, a dependable stream of adequate state funding.
As attorney general, Abbott fought in court against school districts seeking more funding, and now as governor he continues to fight against them, letting Texas lag about $2,500 behind the national average in per-student funding. Adequate and equitable state funding could make it a lot easier for school board members to tackle the “challenges” the governor’s resolution praises them for tackling.
In fact, the biggest challenge most school board members face is doing their jobs despite the obstacles thrown up by a governor and a lieutenant governor more interested in privatizing public schools than supporting them with something more than lip service.